Voting is different this federal election.
The Parliament has recently passed changes to the voting method for electing Senators in your state or territory.
The changes will apply at the 2016 federal election. Clear instructions will be included on the Senate ballot paper advising you how to record your vote on the ballot paper.
What you need to know
To vote for Senators in your state or territory at the 2016 federal election, you must fill in your ballot paper in the order of your choice. You can do this by voting either above the line or below the line.
Voting above the line
If you vote above the line, you must number at least six boxes from 1 to 6. By voting above the line, your preferences will be distributed in the order that the candidates appear below the line for the party or group you have chosen.
Your preferences will first be distributed to the candidates in the party or group of your first choice, then to candidates in the party or group of your second choice and so on, until all your preferences have been distributed.
Voting below the line
If you vote below the line, you must number at least twelve boxes from 1 to 12. By voting below the line your preferences will be distributed to the individual candidates as numbered on your ballot paper, in the order of your choice.
Above the line
If you vote above the line, you must number at least six boxes from 1 to 6.
Place a 1 in the box above the party or group that is your first choice, the number 2 in the box above the party or group that is your second choice and so on until you have numbered at least six boxes above the line.
Below the line
If you vote below the line, you must number at least 12 boxes from 1 to 12.
Place a 1 in the box beside the candidate that is your first choice, and the numbers 2, 3, 4 and so on to at least the number 12. You can continue to place numbers in the order of your choice in as many boxes below the line as you like.
Your ballot papers will now include political party logos
At the 2016 federal election, your Senate and House of Representatives ballot papers will both look different. Parties who have registered a logo with the Australian Electoral Commission before the issue of writs for the election will have their logo printed on the ballot papers.
Voting in the House of Representatives has not changed. To make your vote count, you must number all boxes on the green House of Representatives ballot paper in the order of your choice.
Instructions on how to vote will be clearly displayed on your ballot paper.
Don’t worry if you make a mistake. You can ask for another ballot paper and start again.